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Trial of Donald Trump Begins Tomorrow. TRANSCRIPT: 1/15/20, All In w/ Chris Hayes.

Guests: Eric Swalwell, Harry Litman, Andrew Prokop, Danny Weiss, MiekeEoyang, Rosalind Helderman, Josh Kovensky

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: The arithmetic is simply not there. He`s battling with Buttigieg and Klobuchar for that third of the vote. So bet on Bernie in Iowa. And that`s HARDBALL now. Thanks for being with us. "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.



RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: What do you think is the main inaccuracy or the main lie that`s being told that you feel like you can correct?

HAYES: A witness at the center of Donald Trump`s impeachment speaks out.

LEV PARNAS, ASSOCIATE OF RUDY GIULIANI: That the President didn`t know what was going on? President Trump knows exactly what was going on. He was aware of all my movements.

HAYES: Tonight, previewing Rachel Maddow`s exclusive interview with Rudy Giuliani`s indicted associate Lev Parnas.

PARNAS: I wouldn`t do anything without the consent of Rudy Giuliani or the president.

HAYES: Why it now looks like Ukraine`s corrupt prosecutor was offering dirt on Joe Biden in exchange for the firing of the U.S. Ambassador. And what we`re learning from today`s new trove of impeachment evidence. And the third impeachment trial in American history begins.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): We are here today to cross a very important threshold in American history.

HAYES: What we know about what happens next, as the managers are selected, the documents are signed, and the Senate trial begins.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): This is a difficult time for our country.

HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. And a lot is happening today all over the world across the United States and especially on Capitol Hill. Just hours ago, the House voted to send the two Articles of Impeachment against President Trump, abuse of power and obstruction of Congress to the Senate for trial.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi named seven House members as impeachment managers. Those are the folks who will act as prosecutors over in the Senate during the trial. They are Adam Schiff Chairman the Intelligence Committee, Jerry Nadler, Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, also Zoe Lofgren of California, Hakeem Jeffries of New York, Val Demings of Florida, Jason Crow of Colorado, and Sylvia Garcia of Texas.

And after Speaker Pelosi signed the Articles of Impeachment, the seven impeachment managers walk the articles from the House to the Senate to deliver them for the trial. We`ve got much more later in the show on today`s truly historic events and what is to come later this week.

But today`s vote concludes the nearly four-week period during which Speaker Pelosi held back those two articles, a strategy that drew quite a bit of criticism. And it is incontrovertibly true that the case for impeaching the President was very strong when they voted to do so last month. But since then, since Speaker Pelosi`s decision to hold them back, the case has only gotten stronger.

Here`s a sampling of what we have learned in the interim. We found out the military aid to Ukraine was withheld at the President`s direction, that the freeze came the day of Trump`s phone call with Ukrainian president. We learned that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, and National Security Advisor John Bolton staged an intervention in a meeting with Trump to get him to release the aid.

And John Bolton who referred to the President`s Ukraine scheme infamously as a "drug deal," announced that he would testify before the Senate if he was subpoenaed. And then just yesterday, just yesterday, few hours before we came on air, the House released the first tranche of documents provided them by indicted Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas and they are wildly incriminating.

They include Rudy going back and forth with the discredited Ukrainian prosecutor with an ax to grind. We`ll talk about that more in a bit. Their text sending the possibility to Trump`s flunkies were surveilling the U.S. Ambassador Ukraine, a handwritten note from Lev Parnas reading, "get Zelensky to announce the Biden case will be investigated.

Now tonight, there are more. There are hundreds of new pages of documents that show how far up in the Republican Party this scheme goes. We`ll have more on all that in just a bit. But those documents we got today, they include a text message from Lev Parnas saying, "I`m officially part of Team Trump tomorrow."

That is Lev Parnas, the guy at the center of all this, the guy who was the point man running the Ukraine scheme. He`s a guy whose lawyer represented him as part of the President`s own legal team when he was first subpoenaed. He`s the guy in pictures with the president, who reportedly has talked to the President, who`s regionally on these close associates. That guy turned over all those explosive documents and he talked for the first time.

He talked Rachel Maddow today to publicly tell his side of the story for the first time. Here`s part of what he had to say.


MADDOW: Lev, why do you want to testify to the impeachment investigation?

PARNAS: I want to give the truth out because I feel it`s important for our country. I think it`s important for me. I think it`s important for the world to know exactly what transpired and what happened because I think a lot -- there`s a lot of things that are being said that are not accurate. And I just want to make sure that they`re accurate because things happen that need to get out. And I think the world needs to know.

MADDOW: What do you think is the main inaccuracy or the main lie that`s being told that you feel like you can correct?

PARNAS: That the President didn`t know what was going on. President Trump knew exactly what was going on. He was aware of all my movements. He -- I wouldn`t do anything without the consent of Rudy Giuliani or the president. I have no intent, I have no reason to speak to any of these officials. I mean, they have no reason to speak to me.

Why would President Zelensky`s inner circle or the minister, or all these people, or President Poroshenko meet with me? Who am I? They were told to meet with me and that`s the secret that they`re trying to keep. I was on the ground doing their work.

MADDOW: In terms of the president and what he has said about you, he said about you and Fruman, Igor Fruman, I don`t know those gentlemen, I don`t know about them, I don`t know what they do. You`re saying that was not a true statement from the president?

PARNAS: He lied.


HAYES: So that`s just a little bit. I have to tell you, I just came up here from reading through the long transcript of this interview, and it`s explosive. There`s no other words for it. I mean, in the interview, Lev Parnas implicates the President, as you saw, he implicates Vice President Mike Pence, he implicates Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, he implicates Attorney General William Barr.

And if there`s any question about the motivation behind this scheme, here`s what Parnas had to say about that.


MADDOW: When you say that the President knew about your movements and what you`re doing, are you saying specifically -- I don`t want to sort of drill down on that, but the President was aware that you and Mr. Giuliani were working on this effort in Ukraine, to basically try to hurt Joe Biden`s political career. He was -- he knew about that?

PARNAS: Yes, was absorbed by Joe Biden, Hunter Biden, and also Rudy had a personal thing with the Manafort stuff, the black ledger. That was another thing that they were looking into, but it was never about the corruption. It was never -- it was strictly about the Burisma which included Hunter Biden and Joe Biden.


HAYES: Never about corruption. That`s just part of that exclusive interview that we`re going to be showing tonight here on the Rachel Maddow Show at 9:00 p.m. so don`t go anywhere. Joining me now, a member of the House Intelligence Committee that`s been releasing these documents from Lev Parnas, Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell of California.

Congressman, as someone intimately familiar with this story, what the facts around it, who sat through those depositions and private and then public hearings with fact witnesses, what`s your assessment on Parnas and his centrality of the story?

REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA): That what has been released aligns with what we know from others in this investigation. First and foremost, the obsession with Ambassador Yovanovitch in smearing and clearing her to carry out the President`s corrupt campaign to have the Biden`s investigated, and to exonerate Russia for the role.

And then the president, of course, remember he said, Chris, she`s going to go through some things. Well, she was certainly going through a lot of things if you read those text messages and the surveillance that they were conducting of her, which again, I think not just Mr. Parnas` words tie the president to this scheme with Parnas and Giuliani, but the fact that President reinforces it by saying that on July 25 calling.

So what`s been put out, this is not a NeverTrumper, this is a true Trumper. And again, it`s not, you know, information that is not corroborated in other ways. And I think that`s why I have to reset this conversation for my Republican friends and say, do you hear it now? Do you see it now? And do you care about it now?

HAYES: It strikes me that the only person that we got testimony from as intimately on the inside of this was Gordon Sondland who testified before your committee under oath. And he was, you know, he was incredibly incriminatory. I mean, he famously said everyone was in the loop. That was his message. It`s striking to me that the other person who`s even sort of more centrally in the middle of this and we`re hearing from the first time is saying the exact same thing as the other person we heard under oath talking about the scheme.

SWALWELL: And that`s why, you know, we had to scrutinize these documents because, again, Lev Parnas is from the Trump orbit. He is somebody who, you know, is a Ukrainian American who looks like he was aligned with people trying to smear the ambassador over there.

And -- but when you look at what he alleges, every time we learn new information from people like Mr. Parnas, it always points the direction that Donald Trump was putting his interest above America`s security and election integrity. And so that`s why I think you have to give credibility to it.

HAYES: So I guess the question is what do you -- what do we do with this now, right? So we -- the interregnum period has ended officially today. The articles of impeachment were physically walked over to the United States Senate they now will conduct a trial. What do you think should happen to Parnas? Should he be called in that Senate trial?

SWALWELL: Documents beget documents and witnesses beget witnesses. And Mitch McConnell should understand that. That if you allow documents in this case from the President, if you ask for witnesses like John Bolton, and other relevant witnesses like Mick Mulvaney to come forward, you`re going to learn more and more about the President`s corrupt scheme. So hopefully, it inspires at least four senators on the Republican side to say that.

And when I go back to Chris, what I think is so illuminating in this case is if you remember, when people like Bill Taylor came forward, Ambassador Taylor, he opened up the testimony from David Holmes who heard that conversation between Gordon Sondland and Donald Trump, because David Holmes read Bill Taylor`s deposition, he said, oh, there`s some gaps here that the public doesn`t know about, that investigators are asking about, raised his hand and said, I have information.

And so the more we learn and the more we encourage people to come forward and have a forum where they can come forward, the more we see the President was running a corrupt scheme. And so if you`re going to block witnesses and documents, the only reason you`re going to do that if you`re Mitch McConnell or the President is to protect the president from the truth coming out.

HAYES: All right, Congressman Eric Swalwell, thank you very much. Joining me now on the implications of this really stunning interview with Lev Parnas, Jill Wine-Banks, former Watergate Assistant Special Prosecutor, now an MSNBC Legal Analyst, and Harry Litman, a former Deputy Assistant Attorney General and former U.S. Attorney.

Jill, what strikes me here -- I mean, there`s a lot to talk about why I Lev Parnas is talking and assessing the man`s credibility. Obviously, he faces federal indictment, there`s reason to take some of the things he says with a grain of salt. He obviously is trying to sort of show himself in the best possible light. But it struck me as I thought about Watergate, like, this is the closest we have to someone in this scheme coming out to tell the story.

JILL WINE-BANKS, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: You are correct. And the way you judge his credibility is by looking at the full panoply of what he`s saying, and all the documents and the phone recordings, and other pieces of paper that corroborate him, and also the collaboration from other witnesses.

So, excuse me, when you put the collaboration together, he becomes much more credible. John Dean who is the ultimate star witness would not have been believed but for the tapes.

HAYES: Right.

WINE-BANKS: Sorry. So we need to have all of this come forward and hear this in front of the witnesses.

HAYES: Harry, what do you make of the legal strategy here? I mean, I think part of what`s so striking -- and I`ve just been through the transcript, and it`s going to play it just in 45 minutes from now, this is a guy who`s facing federal indictment. I mean, you know, usually if you`re advising someone facing federal indictment, you shut up because talking can`t help you. Here it appears that he and his lawyer feel like they have nothing left to lose.

HARRY LITMAN, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL: Do you think? First, by the way, what a day. But yes, it`s confounding no way around it and I`ve thought a lot in the last hour about what he might be doing. There is no way, no way as some have surmised that it`s got anything to do with cooperation with the SDNY even if they permitted the docs to go over the Maddow interview would have been absolutely off the table.

So I think you have some combination of settling scores, but also making it clear, he is a good guy here. I mean, he -- the knives are already out for him I`m sure. He wanted to get ahead of them. He`s going to be portrayed as a sort of two-bit hood. And he wanted I think, to scored you know, general points. Maybe they`ll help down the line with Judge Oetken when he is sentenced.

But basically, I think he`s decided his goose is sort of cooked on the criminal charges with SDNY and now there`s a bigger public relation issue about his -- actually, his role in this whole dirty business and he wants to make sure that the characterizations to come have him as a nobody on his own will be rebutted in advance.

HAYES: You know, Jill, there`s also the aspect of how close this was to the President. Now in the case of this has been kind of a reverse Watergate in so far as the first thing we learned was the president actually, you know, essentially committing the abuse of power on the phone. It was never a question of like, Oh, well, did the President do it? We do from the moment that we got that call transcript.

But the intimate connection between Parnas, Giuliani, and the President, that this is all being run essentially by the White House, by the President of the United States who knows what all is going on. That is -- that has been established, I think, to a certain degree, but this really hammers at home.

WINE-BANKS: It definitely does. This is a question of what did the President know and when did he know it in spades? It`s just proven beyond any doubt. You have all of the documents that show it, you have Sondland, as you noted, who was a real big clue to how much the President knew and how much he was involved. And now you have parents who has documents that just -- I mean, for hours, I`ve been reading these documents, and one after the other -- after the other just shows that this was going on.

Now, some of this you just don`t make up. It`s -- you know, the Russian hacking of Burisma, they may make up documents as a result of that. But these are things that were like written on Vienna Hotel stationery, notepads, and we`re obviously contemporaneous notes. Those are very hard to fake in, you know, after the fact.

HAYES: Right.

WINE-BANKS: So they are very believable. When you look at those notes, and you hear his explanation of it, and he says, the President knew everything, he was running this operation. And when you know, the argument has been, well, when he said says Zelensky do us a favor though, he meant us the American people. You read this and you know that -- look at Giuliani`s letter. I`m representing him in his private capacity and do this for him basically is --

HAYES: Right.

WINE-BANKS: And if it means anything, it means do it for Giuliani, do it for the President. And it isn`t in the American interest that any of this was going on. This is just an overwhelming case. And as happened in Watergate, this is after the indictment, which is the impeachment, in our case, it was the criminal indictment. And that`s when the smoking gun came out. It was in response to a trial subpoena.

HAYES: Right.

WINE-BANKS: Not in response to anything we did pretrial or pre-indictment. And this is the smoking gun now. We have plenty of evidence that we need to get to the American people. We have a right to know them.

HAYES: Harry, this now -- I mean, again, It`s a political question in the Senate but today`s the day you got Parnas speaking out, you got new tranches of documents further showing how close this all was being coordinated with people were in the President`s inner circle, and you`ve got this trial set to begin.

The pressure now, it does seem to me, goes to the Senate on like getting some more documents and witnesses.

LITMAN: How tightly can they cover their ears, right? How hard -- how dark can the blindfold be? And the word of the day here, Swalwell emphasized it, so did Jill, corroboration. They`re going to try, of course, to dirty Parnassus, but so much of what he has to say has these telling details that dovetail with what we already know.

One that just came to mind now is the -- is the notepad that says he they have to announce the investigation. That`s something we already analyzed in knew really wasn`t commentary because it speaks to what his real goal is. Things like that can`t be concocted, you know, in a wholesale way. That`s going to be the selling point.

HAYES: All right, Jill Wine-Banks, Harry Litman, thank you both. Next, there is so much new impeachment evidence to go through. So two new batches of documents provided by Giuliani`s indicted associate Lev Parnas who again will be speaking to Rachel exclusively for the first time in just about 35 minutes from now, those documents introduce new players related the Ukraine screen including the co-chair of the Republican National Committee. What`s he doing texting with Lev? What we`re learning in two minutes.



RUDY GIULIANI, LAWYER OF PRESIDENT TRUMP: Hi there Lev, it`s Rudy. When you get a chance, give me a call and bring me up to date, OK? I got a couple of things to tell you too. Thanks, Lev. Bye.


HAYES: Last night at this time, we`ve gotten to document down from the House from Rudy Giuliani`s indicted associate Lev Parnas around 60 pages. Since then, we`ve gotten hundreds and hundreds of pages more from the committee, more evidence from Lev Parnas entered into the record, and this includes a lot of stuff including that voicemail you just heard from Rudy Giuliani to Lev Parnas. Much of it is really really, really incriminating.

One thing is -- in particular is becoming exceedingly clear and that is that this corrupt Ukraine scheme goes way beyond the president and his bag man, Rudy Giuliani. This was a scheme that involved the highest levels of the Republican Party, including the co-chair of the Republican National Committee, a guy named Thomas Hicks Jr. Here our texts from Lev Parnas to that guy basically keeping the co-chair of the RNC up to date on what he was up to.

"I`m in Poland with R -- presumably the R there for Rudy Giuliani -- going to Ukraine Thursday. I just got back. I`ll give you a call tomorrow, my brother." He calls everyone my brother. "Tomorrow is the big day. It`s going to break tomorrow. The thing that broke the following day was news that a discredited Ukrainian prosecutor announced he was opening investigation into Ukraine`s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

Joining me now for more on all this new evidence, someone who`s been painstakingly combing through it Andrew Prokop, Senior Politics Correspondent at Vox. So there are some new people here, Andrew, that appear to have been in on the scheming Including Hicks, who`s the RNC co- chair?

ANDREW PROKOP, SENIOR POLITICS CORRESPONDENT, VOX: Yes. So this is what happens when you let just about anyone buy access to the top levels of Republican Party --

HAYES: That`s a great point.

PROKOP: -- if they happen to have a couple $100,000 to shell out, which is what happened here. Parnas and his colleague Igor Fruman started just throwing their money around in 2018. They gave more than $300,000 to a pro- Trump super PAC, money which by the way they had been indicted in connection for now those donations. They made false disclosures about them.

But as a result of that, it really opened some doors. And you see that in all those constant social media postings by Parnas, and hanging out with Rudy, communications with Tommy Hicks Jr. of the RNC. And the really interesting one, I think, is an exchange in the new documents that`s -- it`s not with Donald Trump Jr. but it`s with associate at a pro-Trump super PAC Joseph Ahearn.

And Ahearn text Parnas, what do you want Don to tweet, and then Parnas sends him a bunch of articles and then a couple days later, lo and behold, Don Jr. tweets, one of the articles with exactly the message that Parnas wanted that Donald Trump should get rid of these jokers as ambassadors, which referred to Ambassador Yovanovitch.

So like, it`s a look into how the sausage is made with a lot of these things. A lot of times, you see Trump make a weird tweet and Donald Trump Jr. about some strange topic and you got to wonder what`s going on behind the scenes. And in this case, we`ve seen a very clear influence of someone buying their access into these circles and being able to essentially get a tweet written on a topic they want.

HAYES: And it`s also not just buying access. You have a Republican donor named Sargeant who appears here, who appears to have maybe been funding some of this. This is Lev. "Please give me a call soon as you have a chance, my brother. I was just told our tour trip got canceled. I`m meeting with Rudy in 15 to 20. I need to know what I`m talking about. We have people scheduled to meet on Saturday in Vienna."

Sargent, "Just becoming expensive flying you guys everywhere. Lev, "We are paying you back for this. We are never expecting you to pay for, my brother. That`s why I want to do the loan so we don`t have to bother you. I`m downstairs, let`s meet up so we can discuss." This appears to be a high-level republican donor who`s essentially bankrolling the operation.

PROKOP: Yes. So this is about the natural gas angle, which is a part of this scandal that I don`t think has been really explained or explored properly yet. Because in addition to the effort to get dirt on Biden, the effort to please Ukrainian officials by firing Ambassador Yovanovitch, Parnas also had this other thing going on where he was trying to set up some kind of natural gas deal and get rich essentially.

And Sargeant was apparently involved in that effort to some extent. He has denied any serious involvement. He said he just took a meeting, but these texts seem to suggest his involvement is much more extensive than he`s admitted so far, and that in fact, he was bankrolling Parnas for a little bit.

HAYES: In total -- I mean, obviously, we can`t process everything that we have here. But I mean, to me what I`m struck with is just like, this guy is in the thick of it. He`s in the midst of all these people. Like, people know who this guy is. This is not someone running any kind of rogue operation.

PROKOP: Yes. He is -- has all these texts with all of these key figures, whether it`s the Ukrainians, whether it`s Giuliani, whether it`s Victoria Toensing, a lawyer close to the president. He is in -- I think the most revealing of all the texts that we`ve seen so far are his exchanges with Yuriy Lutsenko who was the Prosecutor General of Ukraine under the previous administration, where Lutsenko makes very clear what he wants is to get Marie Yovanovitch fired from her position. And in return, he will provide something that he refers to as information on B. And he eventually makes clear, he talks about Burisma, specifically, but B could also refer to Biden. It means the same thing, essentially.

So it was a very clear quid pro quo. That was really before all of the action at the heart of the impeachment inquiry involving the withholding of aid and the White House meeting. It was this effort to fire the ambassador.

HAYES: Yes. That -- and that actually -- that`s -- I`m glad you teed that up. We`re going to talk about that in just a little bit. Andrew Prokop, thank you so much. Next, as Andrew just referring to, we`re getting a clear picture of that campaign to push Ambassador Yovanovitch out of Ukraine, and the newly revealed quid pro quo behind her ouster. It really, really makes everything fall into place when you understand this. And the latest on that after this.


HAYES:  At the center of the Ukraine scandal, the president is being impeached for is the abrupt removal of the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch. Now, you might remember her, she testified quite memorably before the House Intelligence Committee. She`s a decorated American diplomat. And President Trump brought her up in that infamous call with the Ukrainian president saying ominously that she is, quote, "going to go through some things."

During the House impeachment proceedings, a senior State Department official in charge of Ukraine, George Kent, offered a rather evocative line to describe why there was this active campaign to remove Marie Yovanovitch.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Now, some in Ukraine probably disliked her efforts to help Ukraine root out corruption; is  that correct?

GEORGE KENT, DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE:  As I mentioned in my testimony, you can`t promote anti-corruption action without pissing off corrupt people.


HAYES:  One way of understanding why she was recalled and removed from her post in Ukraine was that she simply got in the way of a corrupt scheme involving Rudy Giuliani, Lev Parnas, Igor Fruman and the president, a scheme to corruptly extort the Ukrainian president into, among other things, manufacturing dirt and announcing an investigation of his political rival.

OK. But yesterday we learned that the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine`s removal is actually a much more concrete part of this scandal, because it turns out the guy that Rudy and his pals were pressuring to manufacture the dirt, Ukraine`s discredited and allegedly corrupt former prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko, it appears that he actually made the removal of Yovanovitch and explicit condition of his cooperation.

It was essentially a quip pro quo. Lutsenko saying, look, I don`t like this Yovanovitch. I don`t like your U.S. ambassador to Ukraine. You get rid of her, and then I will give you that dirt on the Bidens.

That discredited Ukrainian prosecutor had come to despise Yovanovitch, because she had been publicly criticizing him and his allies for their corruption. And so that prosecutor made clear that he would only give Trump and his allies what they wanted if they took care of his Marie Yovanovitch problem.

The evidence in those texts that were released late yesterday, here is one message the prosecutor sent to Lev Parnas, translated from Russia, "it`s just that if you don`t make a decision about madam," that would be Yovanovitch, "you are calling into question all my declarations, including about B." The B. there almost certainly Biden or Burisma, the Ukrainian gas company where Hunter Biden served on the board.

That`s not all, a few days later, that prosecutor messaged Lev Parnas to say he had made progress in digging up dirt on the Bidens, but then added this, quote, "and here you can`t even get rid of one fool?" Parnas` response, "she`s not a simple fool, trust me. But she`s not getting away."

Trump recalled Yovanovitch the following month.

I`m joined by two people that have been following this very closely, Rosalind Helderman, political investigations and enterprise reporter for The Washington Post, and Josh Kovensky, investigative reporter for Talking Points Memo.

And Rosalind,, let me start with you. I thought your lead did a great job of sort of clarifying this. And I`m just going to read it. New materials released by House Democrats appear to show Ukraine`s top prosecutor offering an associate of President Trump`s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani damaging information related to former Vice President Joe Biden if the Trump administration recalled the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine.

It is more concrete in these texts than we`ve ever seen it, right?

ROSALIND HELDERMAN, THE WASHINGTON POST:  Yeah, it really is. And in fact, the new material that was just put out by the House this evening shows that there is a lot more. We`re still going through it. It is really like dozens and dozens of messages exchanged in Russian between Mr. Parnas and Yuriy Lutsenko. I mean, this was a long, ongoing communication between them on these two topics. What Parnas and Giuliani wanted, the investigation into Biden, and what Lutsenko wanted, which was the removal of Marie Yovanovitch.

HAYES:  And part of this, to me, Josh, and you spent three years reporting in Ukraine. You speak Russian. You are sort of familiar with the cast of characters here before you came to this beat at Talking Points Memo -- part of it to me is that it kind of makes the story make more sense than in the past because the obsession with Yovanovitch never quite was that clear to me why her, like why the obsession with her. And what you see from this is it is not their obsession with Yovanovitch, it is Lutsenko`s obsession with Yovanovitch, and they are trying to pay his price to get his cooperation.

JOSH KOVENSKY, TALKING POINTS MEMO:  Right, it is really clear from the texts that were released today that it was, as you said, it`s Lutsenko`s obsession with Yovanovitch that really drives Parnas, and by extension Giuliani, to push for her removal.

What`s really interesting about the texts is that they pick up in early March. And what happened then is  that Marie Yovanovitch gave a speech calling for the firing of a top deputy of Lutsenko`s and also criticizing him directly for failing to fight corruption. So -- and it`s from there, you can see in the texts, he`s texting Parnas, you know, she demanded that an assistant of mine be fired. She`s criticizing me. And he immediately, even before John Solomon starts publishing the articles on March 20, he was Lutsenko was writing to Parnas saying, look, why can`t you get rid of her? Where will she go? All these things.

HAYES:  So, this is is Lutsenko`s -- this is his vendetta essentially being channeled through a back president --  channel of the president.

And Rosalind, as you -- as has been reported before, as you note in the article, Giuliani was in talks to be paid by Lutsenko as they together sought damaging information of Democrats.

HELDERMAN:  That`s right. There is actually new information about that just this evening, too, just a lot of texts back and forth where they`re getting into the details and Giuliani is asking when can we draw up the documents? I mean, that was not a passing fancy. He very seriously considered being retained by Mr. Lutsenko.

HAYES:  And this -- it makes sense -- it makes sense of the Yovanovitch obsession, all of  the effort put on her, which is that Lutsenko is kind of playing them a bit.  I mean, he`s basically saying, like I have in this box the thing you are looking for. I have with me the magic bullet that will destroy Joe Biden, and I will let you see it. And I will give it to you if you do me this one favor, and when they can`t get that favor done, they`re extremely desperate and frustrated.

KOVENSKY:  So, I think it is crucial to note that there is no curiosity from Parnas about whether or not...

HAYES:  It`s true.

KOVENSKY:  It`s true -- right, exactly. And I think there is a really revealing exchange at one point where Lutsenko says, hey look, you know, I have found records of half a million in payments from Burisma to Seneca, which is a company that Hunter Biden co-founded. And Parnas is like, oh, how about you send it to me, and Lutsenko replies, I`ll send it to you through the new ambassador.

HAYES:  That`s exactly it. You give me what I want here is part of that exchange. Parnas, "I was asked to personally convey to you," again, to  Lutsenko, "that America supports you and will not let you be harmed no matter how things look now." This is in March, right after that speech, right. "Soon everything will turn around and we`ll be on the right course. Just so you know, here people are talking about you as a true Ukrainian hero."

And then Lutsenko is like, I have copies of payments -- like here`s the dirt, buddy, but I will give it to the next ambassador.

Rosalind, how are you evaluating the credibility here? I mean, we`re in the same boat, right? We`re getting these documents. They`re coming through the House Intelligence Committee -- you know, there is a sort of grain of salt with everything that Parnas is saying, but there does seem to be sort of like a way to corroborate through triangulation this stuff is authentic.

HELDERMAN:  Yeah. I mean, you know, Mr. Parnas has, to this point, shown himself to be a more credible figure than some others. I mean, we had a whole other story just today about a meeting between Rudy Giuliani and yet another character connected to an important Ukrainian oligarch who Mr. Giuliani said he couldn`t recall meeting and then we have photos of Giuliani meeting with the man in Paris and so -- provided by Parnas.

And so, you know, I think you absolutely have to take it with a grain of salt. But he does, as they say, he does seem to have the receipts here.

HAYES:  Yeah. Rosalind Helderman, Josh Kovensky, thank you both for being with me.

All right, still to come, the third impeachment trial in the nation`s history begins. The case against the president is stronger than ever, and we`ll take you inside the scene today and talk about what happens next coming up.



RACHEL MADDOW, HOST, RACHEL MADDOW SHOW:  When you say that the president knew about your movements and knew what you were doing, are you saying specifically -- and I want to sort of drill down on that -- that the president was aware that you and Mr. Giuliani were working on this effort in Ukraine to basically try to hurt Joe Biden`s political career? He knew about that

LEV PARNAS, TRUMP ASSOCIATE: Yeah, it was ant all Joe Biden, Hunter Biden. And also Rudy had a personal thing with the Manafort stuff, the black ledger. That was another thing that they were looking into. But it was never about corruption. It was never -- it was strictly about the Burisma, which included Hunter Biden and Joe Biden.


HAYES:  That was a bit of Rachel Maddow`s explosive new interview with the figure at the center of President Trump`s impeachment trial, claiming the president`s efforts were never about corruption. You can see that full interview starting tonight at 9:00 p.m. You do not want to miss it. Trust me.

And this morning, for just the third time in our nation`s history and only the second time since video technology was invented, the House of Representatives moved to send the two articles of impeachment against President Donald J. Trump over to the senate.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi marked the gravity of the moment in a press conference where she introduced the House impeachment managers.


REP. NANCY PELOSI, (D) CALIFORNIA:  On December 18, the House of Representatives impeached the president of the United States, an impeachment that will last forever.


HAYES:  The impeachment managers will prosecute the House`s case against the president in the Senate. The seven members chosen include the chairs of the Intelligence and Judiciary committees, fairly familiar figures if you watch this program, that`s Adam Schiff and Jerry Nadler; there`s also the Chair of the House Democratic Caucus, Hakeem Jeffries, a former Orlando Chief of Police Val  Demings, a former army ranger Jason Crow, a Judiciary Committee member whose experience includes three impeachment inquiries and two votes of impeachment Zoe Lofgren; and Judiciary Committee member with a legal and financial public office background Sylvia Garcia.

And by noon, the vote to transmit the articles to the Senate came to the House floor with Democrats and Republicans making their final comments before the Senate trial begins.


REP. ADAM SCHIFF, (D) CALIFORNIA:  President Trump put his own personal interests above the national interests.

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY, (R) CALIFORNIA:  This was always an exercise in raw partisan politics.

REP. JERROLD NADLER, (D) NEW YORK:  This trial is necessary, because President Trump gravely abused the power of his office.

REP. DOUG COLLINS, (R) GEORGIA:  The true motivation, I believe, of the other side is their dislike for this president.


HAYES:  But regardless of Republican objections, just after 1:30 today the House gave its final approval. It was a mostly party line vote, 228-193. This evening, the speaker, along with her impeachment managers, held something that was called an engrossment ceremony. During the ceremony, she took the historic step of signing the two articles of impeachment, abuse of power and obstruction of congress, against Donald Trump. And despite the seriousness of the moment, she took a little bit of personal privilege as she was distributing the pens used to sign those articles.


PELOSI:  And I`ll take one for myself.


HAYES:  The House clerk, along with the impeachment managers, like their predecessors in 1999 and 1868, walked the articles through the Capitol building to the Senate chamber.


CHERYL JOHNSON, CLERK OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:  Mr. President, I have been directed by the House of Representatives to inform the Senate that the House has passed H-Res 798, a resolution appointing and authorizing managers for the impeachment trial of Donald John Trump, president of the United States.

SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY, (R) IOWA:  The message will be received.


HAYES:  The articles were accepted there by Senator Chuck Grassley who is the president pro temp of the Senate, essentially the second highest ranking official in the Senate.

Now it is up to Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to set the next steps in motion.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, (R) KENTUCKY:  At the hour of 12:00 noon on Thursday, January 16, 2020, the Senate will receive the managers on the part of the House of Representatives in order that they may present and exhibit the articles of impeachment against Donald John Trump, president of the United States.

I ask unanimous consent that the presiding officer be authorized to appoint a committee of senators to, upon the recommendation of the majority lead and, two, upon the recommendation of the Democratic leader, to escort the Chief Justice into the Senate chamber.


HAYES:  So that happens tomorrow. And just like Chief Justice William Rehnquist, who you can see here being sworn in almost exactly 21 years ago, Chief Justice John Roberts will preside over just the third presidential impeachment trial in this nation`s history.

All these historic moments we have shown you what we were allowed to record and broadcast, but Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has a plan to limit what you, the American citizen, is allowed to see during the president`s upcoming impeachment trial. We`ve got more on that next.


HAYES:  When you watch political coverage on Capitol Hill, here is a sight you will see often.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Senator, can we ask you a quick question?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Congressman, do you have two moments to stop? We`re live on MSNBC.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Senator (inaudible), can we get you to really quickly...

UNIDENITIFIED MALE:  (inaudible) any comments on these military exercises?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Senator, can we get your opinion and reaction really quickly ahead of this impeachment trial?


HAYES:  So, that`s the way Capitol Hill works. I was a Capitol Hill reporter once. You get a credential, you go in, it`s a public building American citizens go into, and you go there, and the First Amendment protects the press and protects the public to go sit there. Lawmakers walk by and you can ask them questions, and if they don`t want to answer, they can say no comment and keep going. Sometimes they even shut elevator doors on you, but that`s how it works.

Mitch McConnell apparently doesn`t want you to see Republican Senators running away from inconvenient questions during the impeachment trial. He doesn`t want to scene like this with Alabama Republican Congressman Mo Brooks in 2017.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Do you believe Roy Moore over the women?

REP. MO BROOKS, (R) ALABAMA:  I believe that the Democrats will do great damage to our country.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  So, you still believe Roy Moore?

BROOKS:  I believe that the Democrats will do great damage to our country on a myriad of issues.


HAYES:  So Mitch McConnell is going to try to get rid of all that for the impeachment trial. He has got a plan to pen reporters in so they can`t interact with Senators. They`re also talking about having the ability to cut out the live feed of the trial when there are no cameras, no coverage at all.

Now, this is a complete departure from the Clinton precedent as the standing committee of correspondence wrote in response, quote, "the proposed restrictions exceed those put in place during the State of the Union, Inauguration Day or even during the Clinton impeachment trial 20 years ago."

It`s hard not to conclude that Mitch McConnell thinks this trial will look bad for his members, and that`s why he wants you to see as little as possible.


HAYES:  I have to say, I and many people are a little unclear about the wisdom of Speaker Nancy Pelosi`s decision to withhold conveying of the articles of impeachment to the Senate. It seems that she was attempting to find leverage where there was none.  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was going to do whatever he had the votes to do, and Pelosi`s move did not force any kind of upfront concession or commitment from McConnell. 

But here is what has resulted: in the fours weeks since the articles of impeachment were passed, the case against Donald Trump has gotten stronger, public support for impeachment has grown. There is definitely more pressure for witnesses, and a higher likelihood that will happen even if it still remains unlikely in the aggregate.

And, oh, by the way, the trial is now probably going to run into the State of the Union Address, so the president won`t be able to go before the nation and declare himself cleared. Here to discuss where things stand politically on this momentous day is Danny Weiss, former chief of staff to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a senior fellow at Century Foundation, and Mieke Eoyang, a former defense policy adviser to Senator Ted Kennedy, and a vice president in the national security program at Third Way, and MSNBC political analyst.

Let me start with you, Danny, because you worked for the speaker. Your evaluation of where this all ended up?

DANNY WEISS, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF TO SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI:  Well, I think she played the cards that she had. As you said, she allowed the conversation to be enlarged. Had she turned the articles over immediately, in all likelihood there would have been a dismissal, there wouldn`t have been as much attention...

HAYES:  Do you think there would have been a dismissal?

I think you would have had a greater likelihood, because there wouldn`t have been as much discussion of all this new evidence.

During the impeachment trial and during the Mueller Report investigation, the Republican argument was this is all a hoax, there`s nothing there, there`s nothing there, look away. Obviously, that`s not true, but that was their argument. Post-impeachment articles, very damning evidence has come out, because people kept digging, journalists and others, and there`s even more information coming out every minute. Tonight, you`ve been reporting on it.

But by giving more time, she allowed that conversation to be enlarged about what`s at stake if the Senate does not have a real trial.

HAYES:  Mieke, what do you think the new evidence does to the dynamics here? I mean, it is officially now handed off, but the House, of course, retains subpoena authority. They can keep investigating other things, even if not under the purview of an impeachment inquiry. And we keep -- you know, they`re going to keep releasing more and more documents from the person who is at the center of it, Lev Parnas.

MIEKE EOYANG, FORMER DEFENSE POLICY ADVISOR TO SENATOR TED KENNEDY:  Yeah, I think we would expect to see even more. Don`t forget we still have Rudy Giuliani -- sorry, not Rudy Giuliani -- we have John Bolton, who said he would answer a Senate subpoena, who also has been involved in these conversations with the president. Lev Parnas has been willing to come forward.

I think one of the challenges that the senators face here is that the evidence keeps mounting. And there`s no legal requirement that says that once the articles of impeachment are voted on that the House stops collecting evidence. This is like a grand jury indictment, you can continue to collect evidence and present it at trial as long as that trial is ongoing.

HAYES:  What do you think of that?

WEISS:  I think that`s very important. I think she`s absolutely right.

This evidence that`s being -- that`s emerging now is painting an exceedingly clear picture. The president has been caught red-handed abusing his power on his personal interests, political interests, to undermine the elections.

The Republican Senate is facing a very clear decision. Each senator is going to decide what`s more important to them -- go examine the evidence, hear from the witnesses, get the documents or do whatever the president wants, because they think it`s in their political interests.

This is another Fifth Avenue moment. We`ve had too many of them, unfortunately, but this is one of those moment where the president abused his power in the light of day, and now the question is will the U.S. Senate hold him accountable?

HAYES:  You know I said this to someone last night, Mieke, and I keep thinking about it, which is that at one level you think, well, there`s more evidence, there`s more pressure to hear the evidence, but on the other side of it, like, if you`re trying to get away with a cover-up, you don`t want to just start pulling any threads, because it makes the cover-up harder, right?

Like, if you`re thinking -- if you`re Mitch McConnell and you`re the Republican caucus, you`re Cory Gardner and you are thinking to yourself, man, I don`t know. It`s not going to make our lives any easier if we hear more evidence.

EOYANG:  Yeah, the challenge that they have is they cannot stop the flow of evidence.

HAYES:  Right, that`s a good point.

EOYANG: This is evidence that Lev Parnas volunteered to put out and a federal judge signed off on him sharing. There are other people who are going on television every day, and who have more to tell. There`s this Bolton book that`s coming out. We thought all these others names of other people who may or may start cooperating, or who may have other devices that can come forward. They just cannot stop it, and it all winds up in the press. They have a real transparency problem, and that`s the American people are going to find out.

So then the question is, are you here for justice and finding out the truth, or are you just in the tank for the president to cover up the scheme?

HAYES:  How -- how do you thing Pelosi now views her role, right? I mean, she`s -- it`s been fascinating to watch her, because for a long time I think it`s fair to say she kept the reins tight on the caucus. She did not want to impeach. She was -- her hand was forced by the facts essentially. She`s now impeached. What do you think her role now is, when the role of the House caucus, the House Democratic caucus, is as this moves to the Senate?

WEISS:  Well, two things are going to happen. One is right now the managers and the staff of the three critical committees -- intel, judiciary, and oversight -- are preparing doing their due diligence coming up with all the motions that they can possibly come up with to offer when they`re in the Senate, and what their main arguments are going to be.

The next phase of that will be that while the trial is going on, these committees are going to continue to be doing their investigative activities, so there could be even more information. They would  then feed that to the managers.

They`re not going to stop investigating this, because it was mentioned, they`re not going to stop investigating. And some of the people, you know, I just wanted to mention the managers, a very diverse group in seniority and in, you know, racial, gender, and in their backgrounds, a couple of them are excellent on television -- Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, he was one of the messengers of the Democratic message in the 2018 campaign committee, and he`s also  known for his famous Democrats are down with NDP, when he nominated her to be speaker, so he`s very good on TV, and I think he`ll come across very well.

HAYES:  Yeah, it seems to me that you`re going to have and interesting role for these House managers, Mieke. It`s a very rare thing, it basically never happens, right -- I mean, if you cover Capitol Hill, those two sides of the house -- there`s no senators hanging out in the Houses, and there sure is heck no House members hanging out in the Senate, it just doesn`t happen, different universes. This is one of the rare instances in which you get this crossover.

EOYANG:  Yeah, that`s right. And there`s a little bit of a disdain in the senator for people in the House having worked back and forth between the two chambers. But the House members here, they`re very talented. They have careers before they got here. They are very good --  you know, we all saw Congressman Schiff and we all saw those hearings and the members doing their questioning.

I think that the senator will have to take them very seriously. And often, especially among the  younger members, there is the possibility that the impeachment managers grow up to be senators.  Look at Senator Lindsey Graham.

HAYES:  That`s right. This is what launched him into stardom.

Danny Weiss, and Mieke Eoyang, thank you both. I appreciate it.

All right, the moment you`ve been waiting for, that is the end of my show. ALL IN is over. And "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts -- I`m just being honest - "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now.

Good evening, Rachel.